book stuff 3

  • Chapter 3

    Rose sat alone in the dark at the pavilion, it was located on Main Street and it was a good place to watch the traffic go by and remain unnoticed.  Somehow she imagined that the right people would know how to find her there, considering her previous instructions and reaction to them.  She was glad that her actions and attitude had been met with humor; she fully understood that it could have been more serious.  “But then, how does one treat a stooge anyway?” she thought. 

    She lit a cigarette and shielded it in her hands.  She didn’t know how many times she’d looked across the way at a particular two-story building that would be a perfect nest to shoot from, and she was in full view.  “If they wanted you they could have had you that night they marked you,” the beast said.  Sometimes the beast was far more logical than she was.  She wore her leather shoes most of the time when she went walking and assumed the device only worked if they were in range.  That wasn’t what the patent had indicated though.  “The patent was obtained YEARS after you,” the beast reminded her.  She wished she had someone else to talk too other than her psycho self.  “Your psycho self is why you don’t have anyone else to talk to.”  “Indeed,” her mind replied, “and why I got kicked out of my parent’s home probably.”

    She grew tired of watching the traffic and made her way back down the dimly lit streets toward the bridge.

    When she got there, Debbie was gone and the fire was embers.  She added some wood and made herself comfortable.  The fire sprung to life and she warmed her hands even though the night wasn’t particularly cold.

    “Whisky?”  She heard a voice behind her.

    Rose turned to look and saw an old man wearing a fisherman’s cap with a hook in it.  He walked around her and set down his pack, he made himself comfortable near the fire.  “If you don’t want whiskey,” he laughed, “Maybe you’d like to roast a wiener?”

    “No on the wiener,” she said, “But maybe I need some whiskey.”

    The old man passed her a flask and she only hesitated for a moment.  She felt it burn as it went down but the taste wasn’t overly bitter.

    “Nice fire you have here,” he said.

    “It’s not my fire,” she replied, “I’m just tending it for the moment.  And you are?”

    “I guess you could call me Pappy, most everyone does.  Come to think of it, it’s been quite some time since anyone has ever called me by my given name.”

    “I really like your flask,” Rose said as she downed another shot of whiskey.

    “So did someone else,” he smiled.  “I had to retrieve it from them today.”

    “Do you have a back story?”  She ventured.  People fascinated her.

    “I didn’t get this old looking at a back story,” he said, “I’ve always been accustomed to looking toward the future.”

    “How can you tell where you’re going,” she asked, “if you don’t know where you’ve been?”

    He thought for a moment, the said, “I guess it all depends on who’s in charge of where the rubber meets the road!”  Then he laughed.

    “I’d like to think in my case that person would be me.  So do you know Debbie?”  She asked.

    “Doesn’t everyone know someone by that name?”  He replied.

    She took another swallow and handed him back the flask. 

    Pappy reached into his pack and she put her hands on her tear gas, but he only pulled out a box.  He opened the box, inside was another box.  It was square and it had mirrors all around.  He positioned it on a base and it floated there.  “Would you like to see?”  He asked.

    Before she could answer he tapped the box and it began flashing the light of the fire without reflecting its image, she was mesmerized as she watched.  They were sitting by the fire, she and Pappy, and she saw them, all of them.  The lady in the old fashioned clothes, the guardian with his sash over his shoulder, the lady with the short messy hair, all of them were gathered round the fire and shadows raced here and there.  “How did you bring them out?”  She asked.

    “Rose, I didn’t, you did.”

    “How do you know my name?”  She asked.

    “The same way they did,” He replied.

    “Do you want the box?”  He asked her.

    “Can it help me see them when I want?”  She asked.

    “Do you want the box?” He asked again.

    “How much do you want for it?”

    “My life story,” He said, “you will live and remember.  I’ll give you the box, if you will remember.”

    “I don’t know what I’m supposed to remember.”

    “You will, when the time is right,” He said.  He gestured and she looked back to the box.

    The spirits were gone.  Finally she knew she was right, the spirits lived in another dimension and now she didn’t have to rely on them to show themselves, she could see them on her own with the help of the box.

    “Well, young lady,” Pappy said, “I can’t see any surprise on your face so I guess you’ve seen those before?”

    “Out of the corner of my eye, for just a second until I look right at them, I’ve always assumed they are spirits and I’ve come to believe the only reason I’m allowed to see them is because no one believes a crazy person?”

    Pappy looked serious, “I hate to say it but I think you’re right.”

    “Why aren’t you surprised?”  She asked him.

    Pappy thought for a minute, “Because that is my real world and I’d like to get back there someday.”

    Roseanne smiled sadly, “That is everyone’s real world someday Pappy, they just don’t realize it.”

    “Will you remember?”

    “Am I to remember to tell it?”

    His wrinkled fingers scratched his head making the hat wobble, he straightened his hat and said, “Now that, I can’t tell you.  Once you know, it’s yours to decide.”

    “Fair enough then,” she said.  “I want the box.”

    “You have to remember never to use it when you are alone, you always need a spotter.  If it quits spinning while you are on the other side, you’ll be trapped there.  One other thing, to exit the trance, you have to return to where you first came in.  Do you understand?”

    Roseanne nodded and he put the box inside the other with the instructions.  Without a word Pappy disappeared into the darkness.  She added another piece of wood to the fire.  As the fire blazed up she saw Debbie standing at a distance behind a bush.  “How long have you been standing there?”

    “Long enough,” she came into full view.  “What just happened?”

    “I’ve inherited a toy.” Rose said.  “And it proves everything I’ve been saying all along but I don’t think I can show anyone else unfortunately.”

    “You never had anything to prove to me to begin with,” Debbie said.  “Is it like a Ouija board?  Does it summon the spirits?”

    “I don’t think so; I think it just reveals the ones already there.”

    “That could be helpful I suppose.  Can I play with it sometime?”  Debbie asked.

    “I’ll have to chew on that one; I’ll get back to you.”  Rose replied.  “I don’t think it’s a toy Deb.”

    Debbie reached under the stack of wood and pulled out her stash.  “I had to hide this when the marshal showed up.  I guess since he’s gone now I can bed down and spend the night.  You want to smoke one?”

    “I guess I could stay a little while.”

    “Do you think Roger will miss you?”  Debbie asked as she loaded her pipe.

    “Depends on how many mutes he’s had to kill and how many goodies he’s found.  I’m his side chick.”  Rose said.

    “Rose……..”  Debbie said.

    “Whut?” Rose asked.

    “I want to see them spirits you talk about, let me will ya?”


    “I don’t know, I guess so we’ll both be crazy.”  Debbie said laughing.  “Do you really believe they are angels?”

    “With all my heart, Debbie,” Rose said, “Some of them are fallen and some of them aren’t.”

    “So you don’t believe in haunted houses?”  Debbie asked.

    “More like haunted people.  Now let’s smoke that.”  Rose payed for her own stash before she departed to her ‘hamster cage,’ as Debbie called it.  She wasn’t supposed to smoke it due to her illness, so her health professional told her, but she’d done it all her life and didn’t want to stop now.


    Rose managed to smuggle the box into the house without Roger ever looking up from his game, all hell could be breaking loose and he’d never even notice it.  “It’s really sad,” she thought, “He misses so much reality so he can be a big shot on a screen.”


    “I have to find that man,” Debbie thought.  She gathered up her gear and kicked some sand on the fire.  She thought surely she’d find him in town somewhere; he was on foot like her so he couldn’t get too far.

    The streets were quiet tonight, that should make things easier, she thought.  There weren’t many people like her in town, town frowned on the homeless but they sure liked to brag on how they helped them, for Debbie it was feast or famine.  As she arrived at the square she saw a familiar car down the road, they flashed their lights at her.  Someone was out of smoke again.  She hedged her way in his direction through the alley, she only had her stash left, she’d have to half it.  Once in the alley she made him a sack right quick and started to leave.  “Heard you were looking for me,” Someone said out of the shadows.

    He stepped out from behind the trash cans wearing a crooked smile.  His eyes were shaded by his hat.

    “How did you know I was looking for you?”  Debbie asked.

    “A little bird told me,” he said.  When he saw the look on her face he added, “It was purely intuition.  I knew someone was hiding back there but there weren’t any cars around.”

    “Do you have another one of those boxes?”  She asked.

    “Why would you need one?”  He asked.

    “I want to see what Rose sees.”

    “You want to be a fortune teller, or win the lottery.”  He said.  “It doesn’t work that way.”

    “If I had my way,” he continued, “you’d be a queen in my kingdom, but as it is, for this particular purpose, you would cost me my kingdom.”

    Debbie started laughing, “Look at you, you don’t have a kingdom.  It don’t look like you even have a decent change of clothes.”

    “You need to tend to your customer,” he said.

    Debbie grunted, “You need to mind your own business, I don’t have any customers.”

    The old man flashed his flask at her and back tracked the way Debbie had come disappearing into the darkness.  She watched him in dismay, then she turned the other way and went to see about her customer.  She found him waiting impatiently.  “Where you been Deb?”

    “Hold your horses,” she said as she fumbled through her things, she looked around to make sure no one was watching.  “You bring the money?  I only have half.”

    “Yeah I did and that’s a good thing, it’s all I have till Friday, think you could front me?”

    “You know I don’t front nobody nothing.  I pay on time, you pay as you go.  It’s less complicated that way, for everybody.”  He knew Debbie was right but it didn’t stop him from trying.  He handed her the money and she didn’t bother to count it.  She passed him the bag but she didn’t leave right away.  Anyone watching would know what a short interaction might look like, especially if it happened often enough.

    “How’s Stella?”  She asked.

    “She’s at home with the baby, she’ll be glad to see me tonight.  I don’t know why she likes this stuff but it keeps her mellow.”

    “I know the feeling.”

    “You ever had any kids?”  He asked.

    “I used to.”  She looked down at her feet.  “My two year old got run over in the road, just so happens I was drunk and the older ones weren’t watching her.”  She looked down, “They took the rest. Now go home and I’ll see you next week.” He pulled out and headed home.

    Debbie started her way back down the alley and when she came out the other side two teenagers approached her.  They were bad news and everyone knew it.  Debbie pulled her jacket in closer not knowing what to expect.

    The oldest of the two looked at her in hopeful earnest, “We heard you might could get us some smoke.”

    “You heard wrong young man,” she said.  “Shouldn’t you be heading home this time of night?”

    “We saw what just went down over there,” the younger one protested.

    “You saw what?”  She asked.

    They looked at each other knowing it was just a guess.

    “You saw an old panhandler taking a donation is what you saw.  If you’ll give me a donation I won’t tell your parents you’re trying to find some drugs.”  They looked at each other unsure of what to say.  The older one signaled to the younger one that they should go and they scampered off.

    Debbie didn’t share her wares with just anyone.  Children had to answer to parents and that was bad mojo because parents involved the authorities.  Besides, their brains weren’t fully developed yet.  Children also liked to brag about who they knew, and that, too, was bad mojo.

    If Debbie hadn’t known you for at least a year she would wait awhile before she would get you anything and if you ever mentioned a name to her she didn’t know, she knew you would use her name as well, so she would avoid those types of people too.  

    Debbie only did what she did so she could support her own habit and have a little spending money.  Smokey didn’t let her bring anyone to his house he didn’t know and it was made clear that if she did, it was over; she’d be cut off from then on.  She never understood why marijuana was illegal to start with.  Most homeless people kept a bottle, Debbie kept something else.  At least she’d never have to lose sleep over someone overdosing or becoming a monster. 

    “It would be nice to have one of those boxes,” she thought, “if it was true that there was a spirit world, maybe they could tell me stuff and I could change my life.  Maybe I could have my own business, a legitimate business,” she cackled, “if fortune telling could be considered legitimate.  Besides, I like the clothes.” She thought.

    Debbie headed back down through the neighborhood and made a detour by Smokey’s house.  He had company, since she didn’t recognize the car she dropped the money in the usual place outside and locked it up.  She had a key and Smokey had a key.

    Once she got back to camp, she lifted her tent.  Debbie left her bedding in it and only lowered the top during the day so no one would notice it being there, it saved her a lot of time.  She slept like a baby that night, tossing and turning and dreaming about spirits.